Oct 18, 2015 | By Kira

When it comes to the power of persuasion, biglaw litigators know a thing or two, and if there’s one thing they’ll tell you, it’s that the best way to convince somebody is by going for the gut. Creating an tangible, emotional, or even physical connection to the case rather than just stating the facts can not only help jurors understand the issues, it can mean the difference between a guilty or not-guilty verdict. The oldest and second-largest law firm in Arizona, Fennemore Craig, understands this power, and is using the most high-tech gadgets available to their advantage—including a MakerBot 3D printer.

James Goodnow and Marc Lamber of Fennemore Craig use iPads, 3D printers, and other high tech devices in their day-to-day practice

In a special online column series, New York attorney Nicole Black is uncovering how 3D printing, along with wearable technology such as Google Glasses, are being used during the litigation process in unexpected ways to support clients’ claims. Partners Marc Lamber and James Goodnow of Fennemore Craig are at the height of this trend, making it a point to incorporate the absolute latest in emerging technologies into their day-to-day law practice. The lawyers bought their first 3D printer nearly two years ago, and have found a particular use for it in product liability claims, where the issue is whether or not the product was properly designed.

“Using 3D technology, we’re able to show how the product functions or how it should have been designed. So before we even commence litigation, we use the MakerBot 3D printer with our experts,” explained Goodnow. “So, for example, we’ve had product liability cases where the design of certain bolts was at issue and with the help of experts and 3D designers we retained prior to filing suit, we’ve been able to show the decision-maker on the other side—whether it’s an insurance adjustor or an attorney—that the bolt could have been made in a better way.” In cases like this, the ability to rapidly-prototype multiple iterations of a particular design, in this case a bolt, and then present the tangible, physical print as evidence, makes for undeniably sound arguments.

“It’s one thing to tell a decision-maker or opposing lawyer how your product should have been designed. But it’s much more convincing to show them and [let] them actually see and hold a 3D printed prototype makes it much easier to sell the idea.” According to Black, the firm has plans to use 3D printing during all phases of litigation but finds it to be particularly useful during the pre-litigation phase.

Currently, Fennemore Craig has admitted that their use of 3D printing can be expensive—while the 3D printer and materials themselves are reasonable, they have to hire 3D printing experts and designers to create the CAD files and calibrate the printer for court-worthy products. However, as the technology, software, and skills become more commonplace, they could see the cost go down—eventually, lawyers themselves might be able to 3D model and print without having to hire outside help. “It takes courage for lawyers to use new technologies, like 3D printing, in their practices. Especially since I always joke that lawyers would be using quill pens if they could. But often it pays off in the long run,” said Goodnow.

Not to limit themselves to just one kind of technology, the Fennemore Craig partners have also had success incorporating wearable technology into their cases and helping clients in need. For example, they’ve used Google Glass to tell the story of an injured client in a unique and moving way that directly connected the jurors to the difficulties of his day-to-day life. Rather than simply writing a letter describing the issues or asking him questions at a trial about his injuries, the firm equipped the double amputee with Google Glass so that he could tell his own story from a first-person perspective, immediately grabbing the attention and empathy of the audience. They have also used Apple Watch to open the lines of communication between clients who were double or quadruple amputees and would have had extreme difficulty using traditional phones. Aside from just helping clients, the Apple Watch has also helped to improve overall health within the firm.

We’ve previously seen how 3D printing helped to solve a murder crime in the UK, as well as an entire company dedicated to 3D printing evidence to help solve complex cases, from car accidents to medical malpractice. As the technology becomes more accessible, hopefully more law firms will be able to take advantage of the technology to service justice and assist clients in need.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive